DEIB in Engineering Teaching programs in the US

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date



Department of Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics


Institutions in the US that provide Engineering Technology (ET) degrees prepare both 2-year and 4-year graduates for careers in government, industry, and/or business. Graduates from ET institutions are one of the most diverse of the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields. The 2-year ET graduates employed in technician roles align well with the 15.XX Classification of Instructional Programs (CIP) code designations, the corresponding US Bureau of Labor Statistics occupational classification, and employers have a good understanding of their role. Diversity is a strength of 4-year ET grads, but there is confusion in collecting/reporting data, and in general how to classify them. The value of an ET degree is often described as having more application of engineering fundamentals leading to a practical problem-solving approach. Unfortunately, the ET 4-year degree is not currently treated equitably in some areas such as in the CIP codes used, government hiring policies, and for professional licensure rules in states that do not allow 4-year ET grads to be registered as professional engineers (Note: 2-year ET grads are technicians and would not qualify for professional engineering licensure. The licensure equity issue only applies to 4-year ET grads). The 15.XX CIP code Engineering/Engineering-Related Technologies/Technicians designation has categories for Electrical ET (15.03) and Mechanical ET (15.08) that each contain similar wording that describes the role of a technician, but not necessarily an ET 4-year graduate. Specifically, the phrase, “… apply basic engineering principles and technical skills in support of electrical, electronics and communication engineers”, and “… apply basic engineering principles and technical skills in support of engineers engaged in the design and development …” respectively. There are other alternatives to ET 4-year programs using the 15.XX descriptions, but there are none that make a clear separation between ET 2-year technicians and 4-year ET graduates. This can result in diminished opportunities for ET graduates and faculty. The government has policies for hiring into engineering positions. The general standard for hiring professional engineers is called GS-0800, which states that graduates from a related curriculum such as ET, must have “had at least one year of professional engineering experience acquired under professional engineering supervision and guidance”. In other words, an ET grad needs to have prior work experience for an entry level engineering position in the government. To avoid this obstacle, it is common for an ET grad to be hired into another designation for one year and then seek a transfer to an engineering position. This hardship will most likely deter ET grads from seeking government positions. Professional licensure of 4-year ET grads and 4-year engineering grads are treated exactly the same in only 12 states, and each state has different policies. Currently, there are two states that are the most restrictive (Illinois and Kansas) that totally block 4-year ET grads, even if the individual has a PhD in Engineering from an institution that has ABET EAC accredited engineering programs. This prohibits 4-year ET grads from; 1) pursuing higher salary positions available that require professional licensure, and 2) owning their own engineering company. ET grads are forced to take the FE exam only in states that permit licensure of 4-year ET grads. In the two “hell-no” states ET grads are not valued for their ability to protect the public health, safety, and welfare even though they are truly qualified. Actions to address all three of these issues are discussed and progress towards the goal of inclusiveness for a diverse population of ET grads are presented.

Publication Title

ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Conference Proceedings